Car Design News looks at some of the design stories that may have gone under the radar over the past week. Read on for the latest from Opel, Alfa Romeo and more…

It is hard to look past the new Porsche Macan as the week’s biggest story. A quick skim of social media would suggest split opinions among press and public alike. Criticism seems to focus less on the design and more the addition of another EV to the portfolio. 

Viewed purely as a design exercise, a comparison of the two generations reveals a series of changes to both the exterior and interior, which may have been overlooked among the hoodoo. But what else has been going on in the world of design? Read on.

Opel Frontera revived

In a blast from the past, Opel has teased the return of a familiar name: the Frontera. Production of the original SUV ran between 1991 and 2004, sold under both the Opel and Vauxhall brands, and was popular with outdoorsy folk for offering four-wheel drive stability and the option of open-air driving via the Frontera Sport. From the few images that have been shared so far, the new Frontera looks to retain a boxy design and “will be available as a BEV from the start.” There’s very little to go on just yet, but we will have more to share soon.

Full release here.

Alfa Romeo Milano under camo

Forthcoming Alfa Romeo Milano under camo

Alfa Romeo Milano crossover shown in camo

An electric SUV would seem curious company for the Alfa Romeo of old, but times are changing and the brand continues to tap new, potentially lucrative segments. Its new car due to be revealed on 10th April, the Milano, looks to be a compact SUV-cum-crossover, with stocky proportions and much lower to the ground than the likes of the Stelvio and Tonale. Marketing material stresses that the Milano has been developed by the same engineers behind the likes of the 4C, 8C, Quadrifoglio-branded models and also the incredible 33 Stradale. And no, it is not a remake of the US-market variant of the 75 sedan, sold in the late eighties and early nineties, which carried the Milano name.

Full release here


Maserati design boss Klaus Busse has fulfilled a “childhood dream” to help design an aircraft

All aboard the plane game

More and more car designers are getting involved in aviation. The latest is Maserati’s Klaus Busse, who shared that he has been working with the Stellantis Design Studio team in Paris on the Aura Aero ERA.

“Concentrating many avionic, aerodynamic and propelling innovations, it is the solution to the decarbonisation of regional aviation,” Busse says. “Designing planes = childhood dream.” Others to do the same include Thomas Vanicek (ex Mercedes and Changan); Hyundai Motor Group’s Luc Donckerwolke, and Julien Montousse who joined Archer from Mazda and General Motors. 

LEVC L380 minivan

The LEVC L380 prototype rolls off the line in China

LEVC reveals minivan

London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) has ambitions beyond the iconic London taxi and has officially rolled out its first L380 MPV in China. Based on the Geely Group’s Space Oriented Architecture (SOA) platform, the eight-seater minivan has smooth surfacing, a contrast roof, door pillars and mirrors, and the ever-trendy lightbar headlight layout. A UK-market version has been promised between now and 2026. 

Full release here.

VW Golf gets a facelift (and software update) 

The updated Golf is available in both hatchback and estate form, the latter of which carries the ‘Variant’ nameplate. The design updates include tweaks to the headlights, a back-lit bonnet badge and a slightly sharper lower front mask. The majority of the changes are software-based, with a new infotainment system and – as you will surely have seen – ChatGPT integration. Initial tests at CES did not impress our columnist Drew Smith

Full release here.